#UMC

Packing for General Conference

UnknownSo, I’ve been sort of packing for General Conference in Portland. I don’t enjoy the packing experience, so the “sort of” is about thinking and procrastinating, yet knowing the time is coming soon when whatever I have in the suitcase will have to do. As I pack, I dream about being a minimalist, so that I could wear the same thing over and over and be okay with that. Also, it would make the packing experience simpler. Minimalists create open space we that we aren’t overcome with our stuff and have room for our experiences…
But I’m not a minimalist…yet. So, I am wondering what I will need for the Portland weather, and the Conference Center weather, and of course, there’s always the decision about shoes… It’s a little maddening. And confusing. And, it’s something I don’t really want to think about.
But I am going to General Conference as a Volunteer, and I will be helping to host many delegates and UMCers from all over the world. They didn’t know what to pack either. But it’s my job (along with many others) to provide an environment of hospitality and care. Having experienced extreme hospitality recently in India, I am aware of how beloved one can feel when we attend to the little things, and when we make room for new relationships.
Last General Conference (2012) I swore I’d never go to another General Conference again. I experienced some cool things, but I also experienced some hatefulness and encountered people who were hurting by the decisions and discussions that occurred. But here I am going again, even going with excitement. I guess hope never really dies, and I still dream that something will be different, and that love can win out. Even when we disagree. Even when we don’t understand. Even when our mind is made up.
I’m going to do my best to pack light this time…so that there is some space in my soul for the surprises that God can bring. I’ll bring my bandaids, just in case, but I’m confident that God created this Body of Christ to heal; and that God created this Body of Christ for love. I’ll be looking for the new Body called “United Methodists.” And the world will be looking too… May they see us simply as a people who know how to love. Simply as ones who can engage in justice and holiness with courage and kindness. Simply as ones who focus on Christ who loved us all well.

It is my prayer. It is my dream. It is my fervent hope.
Faith, hope, & love,
Dottie

Holy Thursday

LastSupperKl

Holy Thursday.  Maundy Thursday.  The Last Supper.  Titles we use to describe this day.

This morning I was aware of the sacredness of the last time the disciples were to share a meal with Jesus, the one they had chosen to follow.  The only thing is, they didn’t know it was their last meal. They ate, and laughed, and relaxed around the table as if they had a forever of meals before them.  They joked, and recalled some recent moments, and of course, listened up every time Jesus spoke out.  And he had some things to say…and they heard them, but did not understand.  They didn’t know what he meant about the bread and wine being his body and blood.  Where did that come from?  And when he said he wouldn’t eat again until everything was fulfilled, they wondered about whether he was about to enter another 40-day fast.  And when he pointed out that one of them would betray him, they rallied with self-doubt and finger-pointing.  I imagine it was, to them, just another meal with Someone they didn’t quite understand.

And so they left the meal unaware of the importance of this moment.  Clueless to the limited time they had with Him.  Certainly, they left the meal without knowing the world would be remembering that meal even up to the year 2015.

And I feel the same sometimes.  Clueless.  Unaware. Unknowing.  The story lives in me, and yet I still don’t fully get it.  A simple meal shared among friends on a Holy Day, which becomes the Holy Communion that sustains my faith today, on Holy Thursday.  I can’t explain why.  But I can tell you when I take Communion, I remember that  they didn’t get it either, and yet that sharing of bread and cup sustained the disciples through some pretty tough days to come.

And today, it sustains us too.  We don’t know what’s ahead.  We just know we will make it somehow because all our meals are holy, sacred, nourishing, spiritual moments with God in Jesus Christ. And that what our brains can’t fathom, our spirits call “home.”  May your Holy Thursday be a connecting point to the One who loves you more than you can know…